There are thousands of languages in the world — how many do you speak? Whatever the answer to this question, there’s always room for one more. A case can be made for learning any language, but there are more reasons for learning some than others. One language with plenty of reasons you should learn it is Russian.
It’s got a reputation for being a difficulty language to learn, but it’s one that’s well worth the effort. Read on to discover why it’s such a great language to become familiar with.
So, Why Should I Really Learn Russian?
1. Experience Russia on a Deeper Level
There’s nothing quite like speaking the language of the country you’re visiting. It can make for an entirely different experience. You’ll get opportunities to connect with people that would otherwise not be available to you, and your experiences in the country will be deeper because you’ll understand more of what’s going on around you.
This point is especially true in countries where the majority of the population doesn’t speak English. Visiting the Netherlands or Norway as an English speaker, for example, might not be as shocking of an experience since such a high percentage of the population speaks English. In Russia, only about three percent of the population speak English fluently.
There are quite a few reasons that Russia is a particularly interesting country to visit. For starters, it’s the largest country in the world. Spanning over 17 million square kilometers, the country is home to a diverse group of people, landscapes, and cultures. You’ll have much better access to all there is to see here with some Russian proficiency.
Russian culture is another great reason to visit the country. Whether you want to learn the finer points of vodka consumption, marvel at Muscovite architecture, or see world-class ballet performances, there’s likely something that will interest you.
2. Make Russian Friends
At its core, language is a social experience. It’s a tool for communication between people, and it has the amazing power to bring people closer through mutual understanding. For this reason, it’s hard for people that don’t share a common language to become friends.
By learning another language, you’re creating the possibility of new friendships with an entirely new population of people — and the Russian-speaking population is a big one. Russian is in the top ten most spoken languages in the world with about 155 million speakers.
The fact that most Russians don’t also speak English means that you’ll need to be able to communicate in Russian to communicate, and it will make you stand out if you go to the country.
You’ll even have chances to make Russian friends outside of Russia if you learn the language; the Russian diaspora is spread out over the entire globe, and the language is spoken in a number of different countries, like Ukraine, Belarus, and Kazakhstan.
3. Interact with Russian Media
Another benefit of knowing a foreign language is the ability to interact with media in that language. This can be literature, movies, TV shows, news, music, and more. In the case of Russian media, there’s a lot to appreciate.
The most famous type of media from Russia may be its literature. Russian authors are famous worldwide, and many of their works are in school curriculum around the world. By learning Russian, you’ll be able to experience these works in their original form and understand them on a whole new level.
Though it’s not as popular as Hollywood, there’s also a large and very interesting catalogue of modern and classic Russian cinema. Watching these films in Russian is a great way to learn the language as well as enjoy it.
Finally, the amount of traditional folk music in Russia is enormous. There are many different styles of traditional music, and they vary by ethnic group. For the curious Russian speaker, there’s an almost unlimited amount of music to listen to.
4. Learn Other Languages More Easily
The Russian language is part of the East Slavic subgroup of the Indoeuropean language tree, and it’s not the only one. The other two languages in this small group are Ukrainian and Belarusian. Since they’re closely related, an understanding of one will bring you closer to understanding the others.
In addition to the languages that are most similar to Russian, there are many more that share at least some similarities. For example, Russian is known for its tricky grammar rules, but it’s not the only language with this feature. Other Slavic languages like Czech and Polish have similarly complicated grammatical structures. Learning Russian will better prepare you to learn any of these other languages.
Sure, the Cyrillic alphabet can seem intimidating at first glance, but it actually doesn’t take that long to learn. It’s pronunciation rules are straightforward, and it can be learned in as little as two days. Once you’ve learned the alphabet, you’ll be able to immediately transfer that knowledge to other languages that use the same writing system like Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Serbian, Turkmen, and more.
5. Boost Your Qualifications
Russian is often considered to be a difficult language to learn. The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) of the US has graded it as a category IV language, the second-most difficult category. This means that they estimate it takes about 1100 hours of study to reach an advanced level in the language.
The apparent challenge of learning Russian means that not a lot of people make the attempt. It’s a far less popular choice for language learners than French or Spanish, for example. This means that anyone who takes the time to learn Russian has a high chance of standing out in certain professional or academic contexts.
In short, your resume or academic application may receive more attention if it includes Russian proficiency than if it includes skills in more commonly studied languages or no foreign language skills at all.
6. Do Something Healthy for Your Brain
Finally, learning any language is simply good for you. It’s been proven many times over that learning and speaking multiple languages has real, tangible health benefits. People that make the effort to learn another language are less likely to develop mental health issues that are often associated with aging.
By learning Russian, you’ll also develop many new neural connections in your brain and will be able to understand the world in a more comprehensive, complex way. Similar to exercising your body, learning a language provides amazing exercise for your brain. To this end, Russian is a perfect language for improving brain health.